Super gran back on lollipop patrol

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

A POPULAR gran has won her high-profile battle to stay in the lollipop lady job she loves.

Sprightly Jeanette Williams, 71, has been shepherding children safely across the busy Bangor Road outside Johnstown Primary School for the past five years.

In that time she has won the affection of pupils, staff and parents and has hardly ever had a day off work.

But just over a week ago – as we revealed last Thursday – she was given the news that her job had ended.

In fact, it had already been advertised on the council’s website.

Hundreds of supporters – many the parents of the children she helps across the road – joined a Facebook group demanding she be allowed to keep the job she loves.

Yesterday Mrs Williams, who has six children, three grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, said: “I heard from the council today that they are prepared to keep
me on until at least next April.

“They have also told me that if I want to stay on beyond then I can re-apply around January, which I intend to do.

“I think that sounds pretty fair and I am just glad all this is over because it has been making me feel depressed.

“But although I’m delighted to be carrying on with the job which i love, I am still pretty angry about the treatment I have had from the council.

“Advertising my job while I was still in it was not a very nice thing to do.”

She added: “I would like to say thanks to all the hundreds of people who have supported me on Facebook and to the Leader for putting my case in the paper.

“I now just want to get on with my job.”

Mrs Williams’s local councillor David Bithell said: “The way she has been treated is inappropriate.

“I have made representations to the chief executive on the way the whole thing has been handled.

“I have asked that all members of council staff be treated with respect in terms of their contract of employment.

“This has upset many members of the community, however it is now a matter between the personnel department and the individual concerned.”

Martin Wright, chief transportation and asset management officer, said: “Clearly this situation could have been handled more sensitively and I am glad that the issue is now resolved for all those concerned.”

See full story in the Leader

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